tv MSNBC Live MSNBC December 9, 2012 3:00pm-4:59pm EST
a good sunday afternoon to you, i'm craig melvin, you're watching msnbc, the place for politics. 23 days, that's how long our leaders in washington have left to figure out what to do about the so-called fiscal cliff. the latest on the negotiations and ha it means for both sides political capital. that's straight ahead. plus washington state's same-sex marriage law took effect at midnight and couples tied the knot just as soon as they could we'll talk about what might happen when the supreme court weighs in. plus, all indications are, that congress is gearing up for a revamping of the nation's immigration laws. what that will mean for the gop and its right wing. first, though, with just over
three weeks left to reach a deal on the fiscal cliff. lawmakers from both sides hit the sunday shows to late out the latest battle lines in the fight. on "meet the press," the number three house republican reiterated that any new revenues should come from closing loopholes, not raising tax rates. >> the president wants the rates to go up, that doesn't solve the problem. if the president is asking for higher rates, he's asking for more revenue. most economists agree the best way to get that is through closing special loopholes. >> on the same program, number two senate democrat, dick durbin declared that if the country does go over the fiscal cliff, there's only one party to blame -- republicans. >> i can tell you i don't want to do it, the president doesn't want to do it but we need to solve the problem, we cannot allow the reckless position to drive this economy into another recession. a recession which the republicans will own. >> joining me from the white house, nbc's mike viquiera. mike, it sounds like the same old-same old.
any new movement you're hearing about? >> we seem to be at a point where democrats are staring at republicans, saying we're not going to put forth any new proposals until you cry uncle. republicans say that's not going to happen. until the president comes forward with some entitlement and tax reform proposals. and that's where we are right now. the two sides are staring at each other. having said that, there are some prominent republicans, primarily on the senate side, but a few house members who say you know what, we should just cave on the whole issue right now on the tax rates for the wealthy. the president is holding all the cards and that way we can live to cut another day and cutting spending. >> here's bob corker the republican from tennessee. >> a lot of people are putting forth a theory and i actually think it has merit. where you go ahead and give the president the 2% increase that he's talking about. the rate increase on the top 2%.
and all of a sudden the shift goes back to entitlements. >> and so corker went on to say, the debt is growing, congress is going to have to vote early next year. perhaps in february to raise that debt ceiling that we heard so much about a year and a half ago. and corker says then republicans are going to have the upper hand in leverage. and on it goes, the president has shot that down, saying quote i'm not going to play that game any more. we've got to break that habit before it starts. the clock ticks, the cliff looms. >> vic from the lawn of the white house, thank you good sir, do proesht that. with good sides seemingly at a stalemate, does either side have any momentum in the talks? and if a compromise could be reached, what might it look like? we turn to our panel, a.b. stoddard of the hill and the "washington post's" ed o'keefe. >> a.b. let me start with you, thoughts on what you heard on the sunday shows today. did it make it feel more or less optimistic that the two sides
can come it an agreement? >> well, i think the democrats obviously are dogging on those tax hikes for the top 2%. that's obviously still a problem for republicans. you hear people like senator corker agreeing with congressman tom cole of oklahoma. to give on this brings the leverage back, i think into the republicans' corner. i agree with the congressman. that it gets it off the table. you get into the new year and you bring the big fight on. and entitlement reform, the real money to the debt ceiling debate in late january or february. that's still where we're at. that's no matter what president obama says, about whether or not he's going to play that game or not. republicans believe 70% of the country is with him on a debt ceiling increase and they're happy to have that fight. so you really are, the possibility ultimately of us going off the cliff is very high. because i think both parties are happy to let it happen. and have a new fight in january for different political reasons. >> ed, we saw and heard from tennessee senator bob corker say
he is okay with raising tax rates. but at the end of the day, it only matters what john boehner can get the house republicans to accept. last week the speaker indicated he might be okay with raising rates, he backtracked a few hours later. what's the appetite right now for raising those rates? is that something that's going to be an easier sell for john boehner than a lot of folks think? >> i don't necessarily think so. i think until we see guys like say jason chafitz of utah or tim scott of south carolina start speaking out about the possibility of extending taxes for the middle class and going up, i don't think it can happen, necessarily. you know, and they run the risk potentially of running into a situation like we did in 2008. where a deal is put together on t.a.r.p. back then remember it was voted on, voted down, they had to go back and do it again. that if the speaker is not careful and doesn't keep his caucus in the loop, they could potentially turn around and say no, this isn't what we wanted. you never consulted us, anyway,
why would we vote for something like this? a lot of them could face conservative primary challenges in a few years and they're concerned about that. >> you brought up an interesting point. that's something that folks in the media will be looking for the next few days. some of those folks you just mentioned. when we hear them start to talk about rate raising, that might be our, our cue that this thing is about to change. a.b., i want to play a quick bite here fromme erskine bowles. this is whey said about entitlement reform. >> the most important thing is if we're going to raise revenue and if we're going to raise it in any form, then we darn well better cut spending. because spending is the biggest part of this problem. >> what are the chances, a.b. stoddard, that substantial entitlement -- substantial entitlement reform is even a part of this so-called fiscal cliff deal? >> well republicans are pushing all along, saying we could actually see a scenario where our members agree to rate hikes.
if you brought the real money to the table. aggressive entitlement reform. some kind of medicare overall is what's anticipated. because democrats have said they're not going to touch social security and medicaid is an expansion of medicare. but medicare is the program that was in the offing in the 2011 budget deal that fell apart between the speaker and the president and the republicans are asking him to look at that program. the left is telling him not to. you hear a lot of talk about how they want to focus on the taxes and get us over the fiscal cliff. but as i said before, it doesn't matter what the president says about the debt ceiling fight. republicans are not budging on taxes without entitlement reform. they're willing to go over the cliff and when there's nothing else to talk about but the debt ceiling increase in january, it has to be for medicare reform and exchange. >> dollar figure on entitlement reform, what are you thinking? >> the president has offered $400 billion. they would look for, they don't think those are real aggressive reforms. they would look for a higher number and they would look for more substantial changes to the
program. they don't think those are really getting at the drivers of debt in the program. >> ed, politico today, there's an article on entitlements. republicans ready to get any victory that they can. according to this article. the article goes on to say quote they're going to have to lower their sights by a lot. from the big ideas they pushed in the presidential campaign. with obama in the white house for another four years, republicans are looking for something much smaller. even a down payment on medicare. that they can still call victory. is that enough on entitlements, ed o'keefe? >> it might be in the short-term. i agree with a.b. and i agree with erskine bowles that eventually there's going to be longer-term discussions about this if they want to get serious about budget cuts. this is is a president who has an appetite for spending cuts. he has talked about it throughout his presidency. he hasn't had a chance just yet. this may be his opportunity to do so and say look, i got taxes, but i also gave you spending cuts and we got serious about fixing this problem. if can he do that, i think he himself could declare victory.
the question is whether more liberal members of the house and even of the senate, would go along with some kind of plan and that's why i think republicans may be right. minimal changes for now. probably a good thing. whether or not it happens long-term remains to be seen. >> a.b. stoddard of the hill, ed o'keefe from the "washington post," we'll check in with you later in this hour. coming up here, it's legal to light up in washington state and in colorado, it's now legal to possess pot. we're going to talk about what it all means for the feds, and the country with the reporter who has quite the family connection to this story. and he was in the fight of his life up until a month ago. last night mitt romney took in the big fight. out in vegas, live and in person. plus, this just in. >> announced we have reached an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff. >> "snl's" take on the fiscal cliff fight. that and more on the sunday afternoon straight ahead.
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call or click today. i said look, how about this, john, if you agree to a 1% raise on the top two americans, just two people -- i will dissolve social security. dissolve it. so we took it to the republicans in congress and what did they do? >> invited me to a pizza party. >> and when they got there, when you got there -- >> it was a burned-out warehouse. >> did you go inside? >> yes. >> and was there any pizza? >> no. >> and then what happened? >> they jumped out and pelted me with eggs. >> fresh eggs? >> rotten eggs.
>> if only a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff were as easy as the president feeling sorry for speaker boehner as we just saw with just three weeks left until the end of the year at this point, anyone's guess whether they'll reach an agreement. joining me by the phone, joining me via phone from boulder, colorado, congressman jared polis. good sunday afternoon. >> tax rates and where they stand are at the center of this debate. that continues to be the discussion. i want to throw up something from "the new york times" here. this is, this is, this is is a headline from "the new york times." even if republicans were to agree to mr. obama's core demand that the top marginal income rates return to the clinton-era levels of 36%, 39.6% after december 21st, the article goes on to say, the additional revenue would be only about a
quarter of the $1.6 trillion that mr. obama wants to collect over ten years. why should republicans agree do that. if it's not going to generate enough revenue, congressman? >> well, it's a down payment on the deal. we want to make sure that middle class taxes don't go up by $2,000 january 1st. that's something that i feel the president feels, republicans and democrats should agree on. that's what we can realistically get done in the next few weeks. a straight up or down vote on the senate bill. we have a discharge petition to bring it to the floor of the house to renew the middle class tax cuts. this will continue in terms of figuring out how to balance the budget. but in the meantime, let's not take $2,000 away from every middle class family. >> let's assume you guys get the rate that you're looking for. let's assume that does happen. how are we going to make up for the rest of the revenue? talking about state taxes? capital gains, dividends? what are we talking about? >> part of the deal if there's a short-term deal that allows the
middle class tax cuts to continue will likely be a framework for the discussion of these issues next year. the discussion of what we're going to cut. are we going to tackle entitlement reform in any way, shape or form and what other revenue sources are we going to look at. the clock is ticking for january 1st to avert a middle class tax increase. the tax rate going up on 39.6 on income over $250,000. that's a part of what we need to do to close the budget deficit. we need to have a framework in place to get the full length down the field. >> an interesting term for folks not familiar with the language of congress. the discharge petition that was presented last week. walk us through the next step with regards to that. >> the next step is the senate didn't actually pass the bill to continue the middle class tax cuts. if the congress fails to act, a number of things happen automatically. cuts to medicare reimbursement rates. taxes go up for everybody. there's automatic spending cuts
across every sector of government spending. even ones that are critical for infrastructure in our economy. so that's why there's such interest in averting this fiscal cliff. and i think that we can do that by simply taking up the senate bill. we continue the middle class tax cuts. >> before i let you go, starting today, same-sex couples in washington were able to marry for the first time because the state's same-sex marriage law took effect on friday. the supreme court announcing on friday, the same-sex law took effect at midnight. the supreme court announcing friday it's going to wade into the same-sex marriage debate. as a politician who is openly gay, are we on the cusp of a tectonic shift of sourts with regards to marriage equality in this country? >> i sure hope so, those of us who strongly support equality are looking to the court to do something. like the loving case that allowed for interracial marriage. like brown versus board of education. it's time to say you have the right to be in a committed relationship with the person you love and the government shouldn't tell you who that is.
it's a simple, clear-cut case and i certainly hope the supreme court agrees. >> democratic congressman, jared polis of colorado, do appreciate your time. >> coming up. >> someone get corey booker a super hero cape. the latest adventure of the newark mayor. he's at it again. and then we flash back to 1992, when separation beset the house of windsor, stay tuned, you're watching msnbc. eat good fats. avoid bad. don't go over 2000... 1200 calories a day. carbs are bad. carbs are good. the story keeps changing. so i'm not listening... to anyone but myself. i know better nutrition when i see it: great grains. great grains cereal starts whole and stays whole. see the seam? more processed flakes look nothing like natural grains. you can't argue with nutrition you can see. great grains.
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film about honest abe prompting rivals on capitol hill to try to set aside politics and enjoy some popcorn, harry reid and mitch mcconnell sent out a joint invite to all colleagues and spouses to attend a bipartisan screening at 5:00 on wednesday afternoon, we'll keep you posted on that. let's look at other stories making the rounds on the political playground. who knew former republican presidential candidate, mitt romney was a boxing fan? last night, in vegas, romney and his wife, ann, were ringside, they had some good seats, to see boxer manny pacquiao square off. before the match, romney met pam y pacquiao in his dressing room. at which time he said, according to the "associated press," hello, manny, i ran for president, i lost. so did pacquiao, it turns out things did not go well for manny
last night. he took a hard right in the sixth that knocked him out flat. he lay on the mat for about two minutes, wife stormed the ring, she was crying, the handlers had to get him to his feet, it was quite the scene. the usda planning to pack a little more into the average school lunch in this country. agricultural secretary tom vilsack says more grains and meat will go back on school menus nationwide after several lawmakers complained kids were not getting enough to eat. the changes this an update to a set of nutritional rules aimed at preventing childhood obesity. newark mayor corey booker's decision to limit himself to a food stamp budget clearly has not sapped his energy for heroism. witnesses say the 43-year-old democrat raced to the scene of a car wreck outside the city's hotel riviera on thursday, where he not only helped the injured passenger. but the mayor helped direct traffic around the scene. in april mayor booker rescued a
neighbor from a kitchen fire. and in case you hadn't heard he is at this point trying to decide whether to run for governor against republican chris christie, or perhaps for the u.s. senate. coming up, no cause for concern -- that's the word on nelson mandala as the anti-apartheid legend rests in a south african hospital. plus, should the gop jump on the marijuana legalization bandwagon? might not sound like a good fit. but stay tuned. we'll work it over in the war room, next. the truth about mascara is... it clumps.
♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] everyone deserves the gift of all day pain relief. this season, discover aleve. all day pain relief with just two pills. [ cheers and applause ] that's one of the fifrs couples to tie the knot in washington state just after midnight last night. the first time same-sex couple there is could legally get hitched. voters approve the new law last month, making washington state now one of nine states plus the
district of columbia that allows same-sex marriages. i'm craig melvin welcome back on this sunday afternoon. here's a quick look at other top stories making news right now. egypt's president, mohammed morsi rolling back part of the power grab he took two weeks ago which sparked violent protests, he insists referendum on a new constitution crafted by his islamist allies will go ahead and scheduled next weekend. meanwhile, nelson mandala remains in a south african hospital on this sunday. sources close to the mandala family tell nbc news there's quote no sense of panic. mandala had sympttomach surgery earlier this year. and the fbi's headquarters may be moving. not soon, though, but perhaps eventually. the building sits right between the white house and the capitol. it's prime d.c. real estate so the agency that oversees the federal buildings is calling on
ideas about where else it could house the gumshoe headquarters. in exchange they'll consider throwing in the j. edgar hoover building and the land it stands on. turning to weed now, marijuana reform backers got a huge boost in november when voters in colorado and washington state legalized recreational pot. recent polls have found the nation just about split on whether or not to legalize. but businessmen are looking forward to relaxed laws on marijuana. i want to bring in tony decouple from the daily beast. he wrote a fascinating story, called the new pot barons, businessmen banking on marijuana. he's got a book coming out as well in about 18 months. we'll talk about it in a second. first of all, let's talk about the business aspect of this. this is not something that always gets a great deal of attention. but using colorado as a model. how big of a business boom could this be? >> tens of millions of dollars,
certainly. i mean demand for marijuana has been going up in the last five years. there's been a three million uptick in just the last year alone and if legalization were to happen nationally, economists estimate it could be a doubling or tripling of the current market. >> what would a retail model for marijuana look like? >> it would look like what you have in colorado. which is the only for-profit marijuana market of any kind. medical or otherwise in the world. and they have, it's incredibly tightly regulated from the time the plant pops up out of the soil to the time it ends up in the customer. and each, each step has cleared delineated rules to make sure the plant's not going into the black market to make sure under 21 aren't, getting into kids' hands. >> one of the fascinating parts of the article for me at least was, the difference between how they're doing it in colorado and how they've tried to do it in california. >> well, california has been let
down by its politicians. so the medical marijuana has been legal there since 1996. but the state assembly has not done a good job of codifying what the market should look like. so when the federal government says we're not going to crack down on medical marijuana dispensaries as long as they're in unambiguous compliance with the state law, the problem in california is state law is ambiguous. >> you mentioned businesses. ha about the businesses that drug test employees before they hire them. especially some of these major multistate companies that have uniform drug policy. how do they handle that, how are they going to be able to hand that will in states like colorado and washington state now, where it's legal to smoke? >> they're going to be able to fall back on federal law. it's one reason why smokers in colorado and washington state shouldn't celebrate too much. there's still a lot of ways in which they can get in trouble. and one of them is violating the drug-free workplace laws. >> the book --
>> there's a point that it doesn't get made enough in the medical marijuana conversation. and that is the rights of biggest people. what's the federal government going to do in washington state and colorado. are they going to allow the market to be regulated. if they don't, it's a terrible scenario. they're not going to be able to stop the legalization of possession at the state level. the feds don't have the resources to come in and bust everyday pot smokers. so you've got a base of legal customers. if you don't allow the creation of business people, a community business people to supply those customers, it's just a boom for the black market. >> your connection to pot has deep family roots. i understand you're working on a book and during the course of some research you made a startling discovery. >> marijuana has been a part of my life for a long time. my family was involved in it, i grew in miami in the '80s. my family was part of the golden era of marijuana. the '70s and '80s. when it was being brought in on big boats from colombia and
jamaica. smuggled over the border of mexico. the homegrown market didn't exist. >> the basis or somewhat of the basis for your book that's going to come out 18 months from now. >> the book is in the future. so we'll have to come back to thatnd a talk about that then. but the point about the business people is, in colorado, for example, there's a for-profit market. people are allowed to sell it, there's lots of patients who want it but because of the federal prohibition, the people running the shops can't take normal business deductions, they can't get health insurance for their employees, they can't get banking services. it's a big problem. >> it will be fascinating to see how it plays out. tony doukoupil. when you write that book, come back. >> i will hold you to that. it's a fascinating article. let's continue our discussion on marijuana legalization and the political implications, we want to bring in the sunday war room, joining me democratic strategist, chris kofinis, the
former chief of staff for senator mansion from west virginia. republican strategist joe watkins, former aide to president george h.w. bush. chris, let me start with you, president obama has yet to weigh in on what the federal government will do. is going to do in terms of enforcing federal drug laws. >> what risks does the president face on this issue? >> the country is kind of divided, you're seeing where legalization is happening. it's happening out west. more kind of progressive states. the country nationally still divided. the risk, where there is risk. is talking about an issue that really isn't a top issue for the american people right now. you've got the fiscal cliff. you have immigration, health care. the economy, jobs, getting in the midst of an issue that is
still fairly contentious for a significant number of americans, i think poses some political risk. my guess is where this ends up going is, the administration probably doesn't talk about it and probably doesn't go out of its way to enforce it. and i guess we'll wait and see what we actually do. >> young voters, joe watkins, young voters, no surprise here. according to the new republic, a polling that shows quote an impressive 65 to 70% of voters under the age of 30 supporting marijuana legalization. nationwide, this wasn't a study that was conducted in one state or a particular region. joe, does this issue now present the republican party, with a huge opportunity to gain the support of younger voters? >> i would hope, craig, that we would challenge younger voters
to look to their better agnels. obviously the recreational use of marijuana is not the central issue that the republican party or any party would want to use to attract new voters. >> it doesn't have to be the central issue, joe. but it could be a platform plank. >> there's so many other things, i think chris kofinis said it well. at a time when people are concerned about what's happening with our country, from a fiscal standpoint and young people are who are worried whether or not they'll be able to pay back their college loans. i think our best shot is to talk about the job opportunities that young people might have and the educational opportunities that they so much deserve. beginning in elementary school. more so than talking about whether or not they should have the right to smoke marijuana. >> let's switch gears. i know how you two feel about pot. let's turn to another key battle brewing in washington. comprehensive immigration reform. the "l.a. times" reporting that president obama will begin an all-out drive for immigration reform shortly after the
inaugurati inauguration. according to the article, it could include a path to citizenship for 11 million people living illegally in this country. chris, is the best approach for the white house here to go all in and create a comprehensive bill? or is it to do it like senator marco rubio has suggested, one piece at a time? >> i would say you go all in. i think you have to be sensitive to some of the politics of it. but in reality given what the republicans faced in the election and the total rebuke amongst hispanic voters. the dynamics and the forces are there for immigration reform. more so now and that ever before. will it be difficult? yes, will it be complicated? of course. i think people have come to terms with the fact that you're not going to deport 12 million plus people. that's never going to happen. so let's find a way to do this in a decent, humane way. i think if we do it the country wins, it's not about a republican or democrat victory.
>> joe, how would the gop react to a proposal for a path to citizenship. for the 12 million illegal immigrants who are living here. >> there's a shot to get this done. chris has spoken right. we have to consider what's best for the united states of america. and the best way for the united states to move forward is to listen to those, those voices of reason, senator john mccain some years ago along with the late senator ted kennedy had an immigration package that provided people with path to citizenship. this has to become an option. certainly if republicans have from a party standpoint want to look to including more people and growing the base of the party and doing bet anywhere the future with hispanic voters, we've got to embrace an immigration policy that's fair and reasonable an provides a path to citizenship. >> democratic congressman luis gutierrez campaigned for the president. now he is taking the president to task for not taking a more active role in these preliminary immigration talks. this is luis gutierrez telling
the hill -- who's missing from hess conversations? is the president of the united states. chris, those are some pretty strong words from strong obama ally. should the president be more involved in these talks? >> you're talking about an election that just ended. you're talking about a lame duck session and a new congress being sworn in it's the new congress that's going to deal with this and there's going to be significant changes. i think the president sitting back. letting the certain players and congress kind of figure out the main details. i have no doubt to come back after the president is sworn in again, he's going to put a major push in. i have no doubt about that. in fact it's smart politics, it's smart policy. i think you've seen republicans and democrats coming to terms with that, this is something that's going to get done. my guess is it's probably going to get done in the first year of the new presidency. joe after immigration reform, most folks suspect that immigration reform is going to get done in some way, shape or,
form or fashion. after that, joe, what's, what do you think is going to be the focus of this president? >> i think this president has a numb of challenges. i think his biggest challenge of course right now is trying to bring republicans and democrats together on the matter of the fiscal cliff. because as we all know if we go over the fiscal cliff. that means higher taxes for everybody. it means a hit of $3.9% to the gp it means unemployment will probably go over 9%, maybe as high as 10%. think those are all the kinds of things that the president would want to avoid. we don't want that to be the discussion beginning 2013. i think the president wants to make sure first we get past the fiscal challenge and bring both parties together and sign an agreement that works for us so we avoid the fiscal cliff and then look for other ways to bring the country together and maybe make a difference legislatively. >> chris as promised really quickly here. your former cross, senator joe mansion, west virginia, absolutely despises the mtv
show, buck wild and has taken to talking about it. a lot, what's your take on all of this? what's happening here? >> well, you know, listen, there's nobody who loves his state more, i think than joe mansion. he loves west virginia. it's a state with great people. i've met a lot of them while i worked for him and you see this show, i went and saw the trailer for it yesterday. and it's, you know it's the caricature of certain people, and it's the way i think it kind of presents the state in the worst light. it doesn't need to be this way. it's a state of great people who work really hard. >> it's a show on mtv. it's a reality show on mtv. it's mindless, senseless entertainment. >> but you know what, it is, and it isn't. and the reality is these shows actually do have a cultural impact. these shows do affect you know how people perceive each other and unfortunately, you know, mtv, i get they're in the business of making money. but i just once, just once i would like them to maybe put forward a show that doesn't make
young people look like fools. >> i don't think anybody should be stereotyped. >> this is just not, this is just not the best use i think of mtv resources. but then again i'm not sure what really is. >> i could point you to a few other shows on tv -- >> we could have a long discussion about that. >> on that note, gentlemen, democratic strategist, chris kofinis and republican strategist, joe watkins, thanks to both of you. the latest on will, kate and the investigation into the nurse who took the crank call. coming up. you ever notice that some people just have a knack for giving the perfect gift?
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saying basically, we're not going to tell you what they talked about. but they are talking, the lines of communication remain open. so some developing news on the sunday afternoon. the president, the house speaker, still talking. more than two weeks after being admitted to a houston hospital, former president george h.w. bush remains in stable condition. being treated for a bronchitis-related cough. doctors say the 88-year-old bush continues to improve but they are being cautious with his care. and it was back in 1992 when then president george h.w. bush lost the white house to bill clinton. the same year, yugoslavia started breaking apart, south africans voted to end apartheid and the prince and principles is of wales, better known as charles and diana officially separated. today's flashback comes from nbc nightly news, december 9th, 1992. began as a royal romance but quickly faded. britain's prince charles and
lady diana. in the latter years, a troubled marriage and mostly separate lives, she reportedly described it as a loveless misalliance. well, today official word -- the union is over. nbc's rick davis has more tonight from london. rick? >> katie, the last time a prime minister spoke publicly of the troubled lives of the royal family was in 1936. stanley baldwin announced the abdication of edward the viii, today it was about the end of a love affair. it was the stuff of fairy tales. the engagement of a shy young woman to a prince and future king. it was the wedding the world watched. princess was hailed as the jewel in the crown. but, there were rumors of trouble even as they posed as the happy family. and this year, many published reports that both had other close relationships. so today's words in parliament were not a surprise. >> it is announced from buckingham palace that with regret, the prince and princess of wales have decided to separate. their royal highnesss have no
plans to divorce and their constitutional positions are unaffected. >> diana's oldest son, william, has been in the headlines a lot recently since getting married now as an expectant father. prince william attended a gala fundraiser last night without his wife, kate, who is still at home resting. he canceled an event for tonight to stay home with the duchess of cambridge whose acute morning sickness put her in the hospital last week. this week we are expecting a complete medical explanation of the nurse who died after being the victim of a hoax by two radio deejays. the deejays called the hospital pretending to be the queen and prince charles, they are off the air until further notice while counselors are giving the two what's described as intense therapy. they're described as being extremely fragile right now. as washington gears up for the president's second naur ratio inauguration? what can we expect for the second term?
congratulations, mr. president. [ cheers and applause ] >> best wishes. >> the historic day almost four years ago now as preparations continue for the president's second inauguration on january 21st. at that first inauguration, president obama refused all corporate donations and capped all individual contributions at $50,000, but with many of his top donors still hurting a little following the most expensive campaign in history this time, the president will accept unlimited corporate donations to help finance those festivities. to talk about that and what we might expect to see in a second obama term, joined now by a.b. stoddard. "new york times" reporting these
changes, noting that while, quote, financing arrangements like these are typical for presidential inaugurals, mr. obama's decision has drawn criticism from good-government. is that a fair criticism? >> absolutely. he didn't take public financing in the '08 campaign. he didn't do it again in the 2012 campaign. now he's going to take corporate donations. part of the reason, yes, his democratic donors have been tapped out. the other reason is frankly i don't think the presidential inaugural committee wants to spend time in the next month trying to raise money for multiple people. if they can get one or two big donations, it helps cover it and they can focus on a more modest affair compared to four years ago. whether it's money, transparency, freedom of information, this president vowed to do a lot of those things four years ago. just about none of them have happened. >> none of them? >> well, there have been minimal progress. you talk to good government groups, they say, you know,
things may have improved a little bit, but he didn't necessarily bring that big change we were all hoping for. >> a.b., they're accepting more money, but it's going to be a lot less opulent this time around. only three inaugural balls instead of ten last time around. why is it going to be so much more scaled back this time, you think? >> well, we're in a crisis, first of all. this is unlike most second-term inaugurals. we're in a real -- we're in the fiscal cliff. as i said earlier in the hour, if we get through that, we're in another cliff of looking at how to raise the debt ceiling. a big fight that global markets are worried about. so i think that that is really the most important thing. i actually think the president should have done something really revolutionary. i'm going to be writing that in my column this week. i think he should have skipped. i don't the we need another one. i think it would have been the right thing to do to save the
money. just have a nice scaled-down thing -- >> just a swearing in and a speech? >> just sworn in like the last time. i think that would have been nine. if everyone wants to party and spend money and donate the contributions to pay for it, i think that he is of the attitude that his last election is behind him and let's party. so i don't think they so much care what the good government groups are thinking as they want to please the people who have supported them through thick and thin. >> ed, let's look at legislative priorities here over the next four years. all indications at this point are basically saying that, you know, immigration, right after inauguration, last time either health care or climate change, the president chose health care. is there going to be any juice left after immigration for the president to do something big on climate change? >> that's the smart question to ask, craig. probably not, admittedly, because not only will he try to start immigration reform, and republicans are eager to address
that because they understand in order to win back hispanics, they have to be seen as doing something on that issue. but you have several fiscal things that will linger into 2013. the entire house is running for re-election. a third of the senate is running. at the that point, the president kind of has to, you know, step back and not expect much to happen. if anything, he'll focus on trying possibly to get democrats to gain on what they won just this year. so, yeah, you're right. just about this year and that's it pretty much when it comes to domestic policy. when you make that gamble, it will likely be immigration reform with maybe some modest attempt at climate change so at least he can say i tried. >> all right. ed, a.b., thanks to both of you. appreciate your time. coming up, egypt's new president walking back his power grab, sort of. we'll get the latest in a live report from cairo. then later, the candidates spent $2 billion on the election. what else could you do with all that cash? we have some ideas in a few
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and a good sunday afternoon to you. i'm craig melvin. you're watching msnbc, the place for politics. coming up, we will go inside syria as concern goes up over whether the assad regime will use its kchemical weapons stash on its own people. and a tea party republican bough out. what that will mean. we're going to talk to the head of the tea party express. later, as the supreme court gears up to take on same-sex marriage, we'll look at how far the fight for equality has come with someone who has been key in changing the image of being gay in america. we'll get to all those things in a moment. first, some new developments in egypt today as the opposition rejects president morsi's
planned december 15th vote on a new constitution. morsi offered to drop a controversial plan to expand his powers but let the constitution issue stand. cairo, meanwhile, quiet today. over the past several days, that has not been the case. thousands of pro and anti-morsi demonstrators have taken to the streets of cairo and other major cities there as well. for more on this and all things egypt, i'd like to bring in our man on the ground there. of course, the opposition rejecting the december 15th constitution vote. what does that mean, and what happens next? >> reporter: well, i just got off the phone, actually, with a spokesperson for the national salvation front, which is the opposition block. they're being very careful with the wording they're using. they're not calling this a boycott of the referendum. they're saying they don't want the referendum to happen. i asked them, how do they plan on making that happen? well, it's exactly like you've been seeing.
street protests. they say they're calling on the supporters of the national salvation front, those that are opposing the constitution. they say it doesn't represent all egyptians. they're calling on them to go to the streets to remain outside the presidential palace and to force president mohamed morsi to delay the vote on the referendum until the constitution is rewritten. they're adamant this constitutional vote goes forward on december 15th. they say it's the only chance to get the country's institutions up and running and to have a democratic process. clearly, this country is as polarized as its ever been as a result of this referendum. >> all right. thank you, good sir. i want to bring in a journali i filming maker, and msnbc contributor, born and raised in that region. good sunday to you. how empowering is it to the
egyptian people that president morsi was forced to back off? >> it doesn't matter. the truth, it's not even a political point. the real point is this constitution that doesn't guarantee rights for women, minorities and threaten even freedom of expression. he wants to make -- president mohamed morsi is trying to work as a president only for the muslim brotherhood. he's the man that tries, you know, to show us that he's -- he can broker a deal here. he's not capable of including the voices of the secular opposition, of women in this constitution, and not even of minoriti minorities. the coptic church walked away from the constitutional assembly. he's showing a face with these decrees he established for himself. >> what's the likelihood that this vote is going to happen on december 15th? >> it's a done deal, unfortunately. >> it is going to happen? >> it's a done deal. >> but it will not be legitimate? >> it will be legitimate because he has the backing of the people on the ground, especially in the suburbs. outside alexandria in egypt,
there's 85 million egyptians. the majority of them are living in the suburbs. the suburbs are people that benefitted from the brotherhood in the course of history. the brotherhood caught two deals in the history. one with mubarak where mubarak told them, you take care of the social issues, i take care of the army and financial institutions. now they're in power. they cut a deal with the military. the military, they didn't intervene in any any phase of this protest simply because they had their rights, especially their economic power, protected with this constitution. the only pressure that can be put on morsi is not from the inside, unfortunately, but from the outside. they are expecting this loan from the imf, $4 billion. the loan was supposed to kick in, and the agreement was supposed to happen the 17th of december. this is a very important appointment. the 15th is the referendum. the 17th is the approval.
if the country will go on being unstable, they'll not have that loan. this is the only issue that will change the game. >> hang on for a moment. i want to bring in aaron david miller, vice president for new initiatives at the woodrow wilson center in d.c. served as adviser in the middle east to democratic and republican secretaries of state. honor to have you. >> pleasure. >> the u.s. relationship with president morsi under a microscope, has been for some time. in the washington post say, the obama administration has been morsi's main enabler. what with role should this country play in egypt? >> look, i think we're going to have to walk a very fine line. on one hand, we could cut aid and condition assistance on democratic behavior, but then again, we're going lose whatever influence we have. i mean, i would argue the following. number one, our assistance to the egyptian military needs to continue, otherwise you might just as well hang a closed for
the season sign on american influence in the country. at the same time, i do believe we should begin to start conditioning american economic systems on morsi's democratic behavior and performance. number three, we really ought to start speaking out and up much more loudly than we have in the past. morsi was due to come here this month. he's not coming. it's just as well. if, in fact, he comes in january, i'm not even persuaded that visit shouldn't be held or conditioned on the reality of trends within egyptian society on morsi's part that are much more democratic. you have an exclusivist, authoritarian, islamist party essentially hijacking what was left of egyptian military. the military, on the other hand, it's no way to build a democratic policy. i'm afraid this is, in fact, the wave of the future. >> how is the islamist government in egypt, how is this
government different from the islamist government in, say, turkey? >> totally different. the turkish model is a model that was built actually in 1920 as a secular model. they resented the islamists. they forbid them from wearing veils on national television or institutions. they forbade them that. it represented a model where islam can be a political islam. you can be in the government, but -- he advised morsi, actually, and his brotherhood. he told them, when you are on television, shave your beards and wear a suit. listen to your opponents. listen to the seculars. listen to the women. listen, especially, to the chris man minorities. this is the only way you can be included as partners and leaders that are credible on an international platform. >> sit tight here. stay with us. i'd like to turn our attention for just a moment to syria.
nbc news chief correspondent richard engel was able to travel inside. a rare report. >> reporter: in parts of syria that are controlled by the rebels, there's no talk of the diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful solution. the trips and meetings of hillary clinton with the u.n. and her russian counterpart, there's no hope here for a diplomatic solution. instead, what people talk about is the suffering of the people. the people are showing tremendous resilience. this house was bombed by mistake. the people who lived here lived next to a rebel commander. now they're homeless. there is also tremendous economic difficulties here. the syrian currency is worth about half of what it was worth when the war began. a loaf of bread costs 20 time what is it did just a few months ago. despite all of this, the rebels are making advances. they say they will -- they hope to soon control the city of aleppo, the country's commercial capital. after that, damascus.
richard engel, on the outskirts of aleppo. >> you both just saw richard's report. aaron, let me start with you. how real, at this point, is the fear that bashar al assad's regime could use those chemical weapons against the rebels? >> i think the fear is real. the question is, what's the point? desperate men trapped in difficult circumstances might actually deploy these things. toward what ends is almost impossible to define. if they're used too close to syrian forces, to the jordanian borders, given the prevails winds, you could affect thousands of people. the options for blocking this are frankly pretty bad. if the united states, through use of air strikes, tries to take these out, assuming we know where they are, you have a dispersal problem. if you wait until they're used, we're talking about probably the insertion of ground forces in an effort to secure them.
this situation in syria, though, with or without chemical weapons, is going to get a lot worse before it gets worse. >> worse in what way? >> well, what you're seeing -- even if assad is overturned tomorrow, what you're seeing is a country that ultimately may well fragment or fracture. you're talking about a set of opposition forces, many of the most valiant and effective elements are jihadis. you have the iraqis, the saudis using these proxies to support their respective interests. the notion that somehow the struggle for syria will be over when the assads and family and security services are somehow either overthrown or killed, is an illusion. we're just at the beginning of a
very long struggle for syria. >> what are our options in syria? >> aaron is actually right. i was in lebanon in beirut. i went to the south and inside syria for three days in july. it's true. the civil war will outlive bah sha -- bashar al assad. all the minorities are fearing today. they're, of course, pro-assad, simply because they fear the hard core islamist element within the free syrian army is what's blocking them from major defection. they feel their interests will be actually threatened in the future. they will not -- they are not willing to join them for a reason. they know there will be retaliation against them. not for what they did with assad, for who they are. the army today and their leader need to come out publicly and
say that there will be a formula of power sharing for the future of syria for a post-assad era that include them and not exclude them. they need to understand that they will be safe and be protected. >> so enjoyed this insightful conversation. thanks to both of you. coming up, a major tea party player stepping aside. what will the lack of it mean for the army of conservative followers? we'll talk about that and what jim demint's departure will mean as well. plus, how many justin biebers can you buy for the amount of money we spent on the 2012 election? it's an odd question, but we're going to answer it straight ahead. this is msnbc, the place for politics. wasn't my daughter's black bean soup spectacular?
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tea party backing was not enough to help their candidate win in last night's louisiana gop run-off. congressman jeff landry, a tea party favorite, lost to fellow republican congressman who is aligned with house speaker john boehner. he captured 61% of the vote last night. could this loss and some other recent departures signal a shift in the tea party's power? joining me now from atlanta to talk about that and more, amy cramer, chair of the tea party express. hey, amy. >> hey, craig. thanks for having me on. >> thanks for coming. with landry's loss, senator jim demint retiring, dick armey leafing freedom works, is it time for the tea party to hit the reset button? >> well, you know, i don't know that it's hit the reset button. we're going to keep working, and we're not giving up. you know, i am happy that senator demint is going to the heritage foundation. i think he's going to have a great impact.
we certainly have not seen the last of him. the great thing about this movement is we have no. leaders. it's every day average americans that are concerned about -- >> that's not true. you have leaders. you have spokespeople. you have people who are at the forefront of the movement. you would concede that, no? >> well, i mean, there are those of us that go out there and, you know, we do speak, you know, about the movement and we do that sort of thing. at the end of the day, the people are concerned about issues. i mean, they don't have a leader that they follow. they're not, you know, attached to any one organization. so it's all about the issues. that's why we all have worked so well together. >> your colleague tea party express cofounder had this to say about the tea party's ability and need to compromise. take a listen. >> we're not adverse to compromise and, you know, you got to have the votes. lets face it, conservatives don't have the votes in the
senate. we don't have the vote in the white house. we can't win everything. what we can do is lose everything. >> amy, that sounds like a far cry from the rhetoric of the tea party movement just a couple of years ago. has there been a paradigm shift inside your organization? >> look, no, you know, absolutely not. i mean, we want washington to get their act together and come together and stop us from going over this financial cliff. i mean, we want washington to reign in that spending. we're not going to compromise on our principles. you can ask any of these leaders and activists across the country, and i'm sure they would tell you the same. >> is that 35% tax rate a principal? >> this is the thing. i'm no expert on the economy. you know, i'm no accountant or
anything. we have a spending problem. we don't have a revenue problem. that's what's disappointing right now. all across the board, i don't care what channel you turn on the news, all anybody is talking about is generating revenue. well, at the end of the day, you can generate all the revenue you want, but it's not going to stop this out of control spending. we have to stop this spending. that's where we need to be focused right now. >> is there the political appetite -- and for the record, i think there are a number of folks that have been talking about entitlement reform. most people following this thing closely acknowledge that entitlement reform is going to have to be part of a larger fiscal cliff deal. but is there the appetite right now, do you think, for some sort of drastic, dramatic cut to government? >> i think that, you know, the tea party movement has been successful because -- >> how do you quanti you quanti? >> we're still here.
i'm on your news show. obviously, everybody is paying attention. if not, i wouldn't be here. at the end of the day, we had huge wins in 2010 because our message resonated about smaller, less government, reigning in the spending and making washington live within their means. >> that was two years ago. there's a difference between being relevant and being effective. how do you quantify effectiveness? >> we are still effective. i mean, look at the victories that we just had in wisconsin. we defeated the recall with governor walker. look at the huge victory we had in texas with ted cruise defeating the lieutenant governor for the united states senate seat there. we've had ted yoho in florida who beat, i believe, a 13-term incumbent. there have been huge victories across the board. all anybody wants to focus on is our losses. we can't deny that 2012 was not a good year for us. you can't blame it on the tea party movement either. moderates lost too.
so i think that people need to go back, look at message in 2010 when the tea party movement drove the message, we won huge victories. in 2012 when the republicans were driving the message, we didn't have to many victories. >> it sounds like what i'm hearing is one of the reasons you guys suffered this past election cycle is because the party wasn't conservative enough. >> well, no. i wouldn't say conservative enough. i mean, you know, when you say conservative enough, are you talking about social issues or fiscal issues? >> i'm talking about fiscal conservatives right now. >> a lot of people think that the tea party movement, you know, we're bunch of right-wing, you know, fanaticals and this and that. all we are is we want washington to live within their means. we want washington to stay focused on the fiscal issues of reigning in this out of control government. we don't care about social issues. we don't go there. you're not going to get
everybody in the same party to agree on social issues let alone across party lines. that's why we focus on the fiscal issues. that's why we're still here. americans want washington to work for them again, and they want big government washington out of their lives. they want the power put back in the hands of the people in the states where it belongs. >> tea party express chair amy cramer. always a pleasure. always good to have you. >> thanks, craig. thanks for having me on. have a great sunday. >> you as well. coming up, what words come to mind to describe american politics. the top five straight ahead. plus, no cause for concern. that's what we're hearing from nelson mandela's family on this sunday afternoon after he was admitted to a south african hospital. we'll give you the latest on his condition straight ahead. you're watching. msnbc. eat good fats. avoid bad. don't go over 2000... 1200 calories a day.
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what could you do with $2 billion? according to the federal election commission, that's what president obama and mitt romney spent on their campaign trail over this past year. no drop in the bucket, but here's a few other things that you could afford to buy if you had about $2 billion. bonus here if you're a football fan, too. the dallas cowboys that just managed to eke out a win. they're the most valuable team in the world at $1.2 billion. you could buy the boys. or you could buy the redskins. you could also buy 17 copies of the famous 1895 "the scream." you could buy some of those. those sold at auction -- one of them -- $119 million. you could also buy 4.3 million ipads if you were so inclined. you would probably want to wait for the latest version. you could also buy 6 million school lunches for one whole school year. if you really wanted to make some kids happy in terms of annual salary, you could afford
39 justin biebers if you were so incli inclined. speaking of kid stuff, let's go to the political playground. our first topic, senator joe mansion called on mtv to cancel its new reality show already being touted as the, quote, jersey shore of appalachia. it's called "buckwild." it follows nine 20-something residents of west virginia. mansion called the show a, quote, travesty, that place to ugly and inaccurate stereotypes about his state. he writes, as a u.s. senator, i am repulsed at this business venture. instead of showcasing the beauty of our people and our state, you preyed on young people, coaxed them into displaying shameful behavior, and now you are profiting from it. that is just wrong. clearly the senator hadn't seen mtv before this show. so far, no plans to pull the plug, we're told. that show is set to air on january 3rd.
meanwhile, vladimir putin's rep may be wearing thin. he's considering a variety of options to make him more appealing. including a makeover. putin's spokesman calls the suggestion ridiculous. finally, are you someone who's being on dog whistle politics? those are just a couple terms to make the top ten list of most popular political words of 2012. we'll rounds out the top five for you. permanent campaign at number five. number four, politics ain't banebag. number three, casework. sounds very legal. number two, franking privileges. not really sure exactly what that means. and at number one, honest graft. if that isn't an oxymoron, i don't know what is. up next, a weather alert for much of the midwest. a huge blizzard cancelling
flights, causing hundreds of car accidents. we'll take you there. plus, as the supreme court gets ready to take up the issue of same-sex marriage, we'll look how far the fight for equality has come in the last 20 years. and what's still to be done. you're watching msnbc, the place for politics. p ground for less than the ups store. that's right. i've learned the only way to get a holiday deal is to camp out. you know we've been open all night. is this a trick to get my spot? [ male announcer ] break from the holiday stress. save on ground shipping at fedex office.
how do they do that? more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. pick up a ridgid jobmax multi-tool starter kit and get a free head attachment. a major winter storm is bringing heavy snow and strong winds to the northern plains, upper midwest and rockies today. kn snow and ice have already hit the minneapolis airport where delta has a hub. they've canceled about 90 flights so far. the minnesota state police report there have been more than 300 car crashes since 9:30 last night. 32 of them involving injuries. so far, no fatalities. good sunday afternoon to you. i'm craig melvin. here's a look at the other top stories. pakistani intelligence officials say a u.s. drone strike this week killed a senior al qaeda leader in pakistan's tribal region. intelligence officials say he became second in command of the
terror network earlier this year after the previous number two was killed in another u.s. drone strike. sources close to nelson mandela's family tell nbc news there's no sense of panic despite the south african leader checking into the hospital yesterday. he's still there this afternoon, we're told, but south africa's president visited mandela and said he, quote, found him comfortable. mandela not expected to be out of the hospital until at least tuesday. and texas a&m quarterback johnny manziel the first freshman ever to win the heisman trophy. he took college trophy's top individual honor saturday night after a record-breaking debut, including an upset victory against number one alabama. how about that? congrats to him. in washington state today, same sex couples are walking down the aisle. they are saying i do. it's the first date since the
state legalized same s-sex marriage that couples have the opportunity to wed. also this week, the supreme court announced its decision to take up two challenges to marriage equality. one involving the federal defense of marriage act. the other questioning california's ban o of same-sex marriages, proposition 8. joining me now, the former producer, host of the pioneering pbs serious "in the life," which brought a real unique, authentic voice to real life lgbt stories. did it for about 20 years. good to have you. >> thank you. >> first of all, i want to get your reaction to the supreme court decision on friday to take up the two cases. >> i think my reaction like so many in the community is it's about time. it's about time it's heard. you know, this can not go on, the level of discrimination. i think the majority of americans now support gay meraj. to deny people over rights and
responsibilities that are granted by the federal government is absurd. i think it's fantastic that it's finally being heard. >> the series you worked on "in the life," it's going to air its final episode after 20 years of programming, which really helped bring gay and lesbian voices to the national stage. let's take a quick look at some of the work. take a look, for folks who haven't seen the show. >> what things do you think you pay the cost for? >> very little. i think it's even helped politically. i honestly believe, both in the general electorate and among my colleagues, admire honesty. >> a woman had never been elected. a lesbian had never been elected. there's always reasons not to do it. sure, there were days i didn't know whether this could happen. but i always had faith. >> you must represent yourselves, and you must speak directly to the public. >> in the two decades "in the life" has been on the air, so much has changed in the court of
public opinion. we just talked about the supreme court's decision to take up those cases. the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." the president of the united states last summer finally coming out in support of same-sex marriage. how far do you think we've come in this country, and how far do we still have to go? >> look, since i started hosting "in the life" in 1993, there was, you know, nothing on television, very little on television. we were coming out of a dark period of a.i.d.s. and invisibility in terms of the media. i think that has played such a tremendous role, popular culture and advancing people's understanding of who we are. that's why it was such an honor to do that show for so long. you know, in terms of political rights, those battles started so much earlier. to see them coming to fruition and the court of public opinion change the way it has is remarkable. >> catherine, former host of "in the life," good to have you.
good to be on. thank you so much for stopping by. congratulations on a fantastic run. 20 years in television. might as well be a century. so what are the possible outcomes of the supreme court ruling on this issue? it's a hot topic going into this news week. i want to start with the brain trust here. this is going to be our starting topic. from d.c., congressional black caucus director, angela rye. we decided to have her back. also, msnbc contributor, dave weigel. here in the studio, "reason" magazine editor in chief matt welch. great to have you all with us. let's start there where i just left off with catherine. same-sex marriage activists are called this the civil rights issue of our time, but many also express uncertainty that the high court isn't evolved enough to rule on. what's your take? >> well, i think that we certainly have seen a change in the tide from the president
saying that his position has evolved on this to certainly the polls. the polls have indicated clearly that the american people have changed greatly in their posturing towards not just civil unions but the right to marry. so marriage equality is front and center. not only for millennials, but people of all age groups and all walks of life. you have democrats and republicans even agreeing on this issue. at this point, people are finding a common thread. that's the right for human beings, american people that look like you and i and eothers. >> matt, there are a variety of possible outcomes. let's start with doma. if that is struck down by the high court, thewill that be thed of conservatives' attempts of outlawing gay marriage? >> it is the mother of all federal laws to try to outlaw. it will be over it it's
overturned. if social conservatives try to get smart about this stuff, looking for opportunities to play defense instead of offense, doma, which is a terrible law in my estimation, was an attempt to completely play offense. you can't do this anywhere in any state. we're going to pre-empt you before you try. i think social cons are in a much better position when they say, look, let's make it so the government can't compel us to do things privately we don't want to do. i think you'll see much more emphasis placed on that. the question will be more than what will the supreme court try to do because they don't want to be out in front of public opinion too much. it's going to be fascinating. >> and they've rarely been accused of doing that either. david, let's move on to prop 8 in california. if that's struck down, does that mean same-sex marriage is for all intensive purposes legal? >> there are ways to strike it down in a very narrowly tailored way. you saw that with the way john
roberts wrote the opinion on health care. he wrote it in a way that preserved the mandate while opening a lot of avenues to republican governors for people years from now to chip away parts of the bill they don't like. you can see the same thing here. a limited win for liberals on gay marriage. it's hard to predict. we were all kind of watching how anthony kennedy and john roberts can get away with their version of those in the most narrow way possible that doesn't, i think, dramatically expand rights with just their decision. >> all right. sit tight. when we come back, i want to get your reaction from news from the white house. sundays meeting between president obama and john boehner. is there hope in the fiscal cliff negotiations? this is msnbc, the police for a politics. people love our potpourri parties.
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i was willing to hold fast, but that all changed on thursday. because on thursday this man, this grown man, was pushed into the congressional ladies' washroom, naked from the waist down. >> they held me down and took my pants. >> they held him down and took his pants. >> i love him. the crew of "snl" giving their take on the political headbutting. i little hopeful news a short time ago. the president and speaker of the house john boehner meeting at the white house this afternoon to talk about averting the fiscal cliff. i want to get some reaction from the brain trust. tax rates and where they stand are at the center of this debate.
this is a quote from "the new york times." it really got my attention. even if republicans were to agree to mr. obama's core demand, that the top marginal income rates return to the clinton era levels of 35%, 39.6%, after december 21st, it goes on to say the additional revenue would be about a quarter of the revenue he wants to collect. why should republicans agree to that if it's not going to generate tough revenue? >> because they're not coming up with much of anything on their side, right, to cut government commensurate with the size of closing that deficit. the big unspoken thing or not very oftenly spoken thing here is we're talking about the clinton era tax rates. what about the clinton era spending rates? if we kept federal spending at that same rate of growth of population and inflation since 2000, the federal budget would be around $2.8 trillion, not
$3.8 trillion. there's really been a huge spending boom over the last 10, 12 years. republicans aren't really talking about cutting it to any significance. so, yeah, the republicans are going to come up with some -- >> to those who would point to the prescription drug program, for instance, the two wars we used credit cards for, and the fact we were in the midst of an economic crisis to the likes we haven't seen since the great depression, to those who would say over the past ten years, we've had some events that have necessitated a lot of spending. your response would be what? >> what event necessitated a 70% increase in non-defense discretionary spending during george w. bush's presidency? there is no answer to that question. what crisis requires us to have 100,000 employees in the department of agriculture?
i don't know. we just accept without questioning these hysterical levels of government spending and use that as the baseline. here's something. how about we pay for all of that in taxes right now. let's see what the true cost of government is. the fact is, i think, the true cost of government as we have it right now is recession. >> angela, as we heard earlier, the president while taking a firm stance, also being criticized by the gop for taking a campaign approach to using photo ops with the middle class families to hammer home his point about who stands to be hurt most. is he wrong? is his approach wrong this time around? >> no, i don't think his approach is wrong at all. what you're seeing the president do is not a campaign style approach. it's actually a human style approach. he's reaching out to the american people by finding american families who will be hit if we allow the bush tax cuts to expire for all americans. the point the president is trying to raise, and i think he's making it very clear, is that 2% of americans -- we can
allow their tax cuts to expire, and we will be one step closer to averting this fiscal cliff crisis than we would have been if we didn't allow their tax cuts to expire. the american people spoke very loud and clear during the election. i think it's time for us to respond. both sides will definitely have to compromise, but i definitely think president obama is headed in the right direction. >> dave, earlier on the morning show, republican senator bob corker indicated he would be okay with raising tax rates. take a listen. >> there's a growing group of folks that are looking at this and realizing that we don't have a lot of cards as it relates to the tax issue before year end. we have one house. that's it. a lot of people are putting forth a theory. i actually think it has merit, when you give the president the 2% increase that he's talking about, the rate increase on the top 2%. all of the sudden, the shift goes back to entitlements. >> is that what happens, dave?
>> you've heard that described in some quarters as a doomsday strategy, although it's quite good for republicans. they would basically punt, like he described it, on tax rates and say that in january, now that we've given you what you campaigned nont eed on in two e. they think they have a better argument now. republican pollsters will point out that the senior citizens who are told by many a campaign ad that paul ryan and mitt romney would kill medicare voted for the romney/ryan ticket. generally people are saying -- gallup is a good measure of this. they want government to intervene less in the tfts it currently intervenes in. they think they can win this if it gets away from the tax issues. that's why you see this truly agonizing pull away from the red lines they've drawn on taxes. they've all pledged not to raise them so they're kind of meandering around the talk of
revenue. corker is saying this is pretty significant. if they all give up, they have a better argument if people are in the mood for this kind of austerity. >> sit tight. quick break. back with the brain trust in a moment. we're going to talk about what's next for, you guessed it, hillary clinton. we'll do some more speculating right after this. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] campbell's green bean casserole. it's amazing what soup can do [ male announcer ] campbell's green bean casserole. is bigger than we think ... sometimelike the flu.fer from with aches, fever and chills- the flu's a really big deal. so why treat it like it's a little cold? there's something that works differently than over-the-counter remedies. prescription tamiflu attacks the flu virus at its source. so don't wait. call your doctor right away. tamiflu is prescription medicine for treating the flu in adults and children one year and older
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secretary of state hillary clinton expected to testify before congress about benghazi situation as early as this week, perhaps. back with me now, the brain trust. dave, matt, angela. thanks for sticking around. folks, what do you think will be the headline the day after secretary clinton testifies? angela, i'm going to start with you. if you wrote for a publication, what would the headline be? >> "hillary 2016." i think hillary is going to knock it out of the box this week with her testimony. she's going back to her old stomping grounds in capitol hill where she's got tons of allies and friends. regardless of the outcome, the reality of the situation is you
can never know what actually happened until you collect all of the data and the facts. i think she's going to fiercely defend ambassador rice. i think she's also going to defend her own honor. definitely hillary 2016. >> you also have to wonder how aggressive they are even going to be with regards to questioning secretary clinton as well. >> correct. i totally agree with you. >> dave, what do you think? what's the headline? >> "clinton: i take blame for bengha benghazi." she has the awareness to more closely than i think we have heard before describe on the record what we know about it. and to be contrite. you've seen her do this multiple times but in less showy forums. you've seen the president do this when she was questioned about opposition to susan rice. she will do it in this format we're all very aware of the theatricality of.
we've kind of already heard republicans drop off the benghazi issue. they started it by proposing so many hypotheticals that have now been proven wrong. i think she can close many pages of the book with a good performance this week. >> you just used a word. theatricality. is that a slate word? did you just make that up? >> i think of it whenever i see people, member of congress, preening and trying to get witnesses to embarrass themselves on tv. i think of that word. >> matt welch, what's the headline? >> "benghazi syonara." we have strange coptic christians now in jail. we have david petraeus' sex life and strange society women in florida. nothing good happens here. run screaming from this story. hillary clinton wants to leave government and get safely away from this and from also, you know, foreign policy blow-ups that might hit the obama
administration in the second term so she can concentrate on winning easily in 2016. >> before we get out of here, angela, it wouldn't be a weekend edition of msnbc live if we didn't mention that there's a new poll that shows hillary clinton the top contender in 2016 followed by america's happy warrior joe biden at 16%. senator elect elizabeth warren comes in at 4%. what's the takeaway for you, angela? >> i think that people appreciate the fact that secretary clinton has demonstrated clear leadership at the state department, and they think it's her turn. it's her time. >> angela, matt, dave, thank you all so much. do appreciate your time. and thanks to you as well for spending time with us this sundays afternoon. that will do it for me right now. keep it here on msnbc for the latest news. i'll be back next saturday 2:00 until 5:00 eastern on saturday. 3:00 until 5:00 eastern on
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